I’m getting the Valentine’s bug here and have been taking the opportunity to indulge in all things heart-shaped and red. I wasn’t going to do a strawberry shortcake, but the spouse asked for it, and he almost never asks for anything.
I mean, strawberry shortcake is great; a firm, delightful confirmation of Summer’s arrival. But this is January, in the northern hemisphere, so it’s also a dream that’s been put to bed for another five months.
The spouse doesn’t share my sensitivity to or awareness of (not sure which) seasonal eating, so I decided to take it as a challenge: how do you keep true to the strawberry shortcake experience while working with sub-optimal options?
The berries were the only thing that needed a different approach, since shortcake and heavy cream don’t seem to be affected so much by the seasons. From my perspective, the berries, optimally, are just crushed fresh and allowed to macerate just a little with some sugar tossed in.
The two likeliest options I saw were in the produce and freezer departments. I’ll admit to being a snob about the strawberries in the produce department in January – I really don’t think they’d be as flavorful as I wanted – so I settled on frozen berries.
While I would normally go raw, the idea of raw/thawed frozen berries seemed unpleasant, so I elected to cook them a little on the stove with some sugar and a little bit of corn starch. I didn’t cook it nearly as long as I would for a sauce. I pretty much cooked it just until the strawberries started to break down and the color and consistency became more uniform.